Friday, May 3, 2013

#201: The SUV

Last year, due to circumstances beyond our control and the fact that SOMEONE hasn't got a proper licence in order to drive a vehicle with a funny stick thing that you move around in the shape of a gate that sits in between the driver's and passenger's seat, we bought ourselves an SUV.  This involved a long discussion at Frankie and Benny's over dinner.  Notes on napkins were made, figures were put forward, figures were outwardly denied, a head (mine) was held in hands (also mine), the seven seat discussion was put forward, and then a reluctant acquiescence was reached.  It was, after all, a Volvo.

Which, for some reason, has its emblem in the shape of a sperm.  I have no idea why.

For Canadians and other exotic species of the planet that drive four-wheeled monstrosities that carry their own postal code, this may not be such a big thing.  The SUV thing that is, not the emblem thing.  In the UK, British roads are not noted for their impressive width, nor do they all run in straight lines, since they were all joined up with ley lines in between Little Chefs.  This makes driving a 4x4 all the more interesting in the UK, especially when the mountain-climbing, vine-swinging, Amazon-deforesting, monkey-worrying Volvo makes its way down the A14 to Asda in Kettering.

The car is brilliant.  I like the high driving position, the fact there's space for everyone, the car seats and the dual pushchair.  Joseph loves staring down at Smart cars and Dacias in particular for some reason.  I like the power, the nice calm drive and the feeling that if an idiot decided to drive into the back of the car, I would be able to get out to assess the small ding while the other guy's crying about his write-off.  I also like the fact that it's cost us a lot less than the VW Passat we had in Slovakia, since that Italian-speaking German car basically financially crippled us at the time, before we got wise and went local.  Volvo is a lot like IKEA, except for the flat-packing.  They come from Sweden and they shouldn't cost very much, unless you're exceptionally silly and want everything in a colour like chartreuse.

What an SUV makes you here is a social pariah.  People look at it, call it a 'beast' and ask about how many miles it does to the gallon.  Nobody lets you out of junctions, everyone tries to cut you off on a roundabout and parallel parking is not fun.  I parked in the aforementioned Asda next to a car with a couple of socialist teenagers in it who had obviously been taught at school recently how evil such cars are to bunnies and rainforests the world over..  This one lad stared at me, his gaze burning through the panes of glass that separated us, and gave me a look reserved for people who fart in a funeral.  He shook his head and I turned away, my British reserve melting under such fearsome loathing.  It was a scarring moment, so I had some ice cream later.

In this country, it makes no logical sense why we should own one, and that's why I like it, since I've found it to be very useful.  And if you're worried about the environment, go shoot a cow.  That way you can stop that nasty methane and then have steak afterwards.  But just make sure that it's not mad, or part-horse.